These Mexican Meatballs are super easy to make for Cinco de Mayo or an easy weeknight dinner! Use ground chicken for perfectly moist meatballs with cumin, chili powder, jalapeños, and of course shredded cheese.
We all love meatballs and my mom usually makes hers in the slow cooker with some honey garlic sauce. They are yummy, but I think these Mexican Meatballs are better. Sorry mom!
These easy meatballs have a Mexican flair with jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cheese, and tortilla chips. I thought using tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs was a nice touch! This chicken meatball recipe is super versatile to make it spicy or keep it mild.
The recipe gives you two options for cooking the meatballs: simmer in the sauce on the stove or brown in the oven and then add to sauce. I decided to brown mine in the oven first and then let them simmer in the tomato sauce. They are divine!
- Ground chicken: I love using ground chicken in so many recipes! It’s super budget-friendly and healthy, too.
- Jalapeño: It’s not Mexican food without jalapeños for me. Be sure to remove the seeds first. If you like your food less spicy, swap this for a bell pepper!
- Spices: I use a mixture of cumin, chili powder, and salt within the meatballs. If you want a little more spice, try adding a little cayenne pepper, or add a little smokiness with some smoked paprika.
- Diced tomatoes: I didn’t drain the can of diced tomatoes. The liquid cooks down quite a bit in the sauce, so why waste time? I think it was the perfect amount by the time the meatballs were ready to serve.
- Salsa: Mild, medium, or hot — the choice is yours for this Mexican meatball sauce. Add some spice or keep it low depending on your salsa choice. Any brand will do!
- Tortilla chips: Meatballs need a binder. I kept it on theme with tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs.
- Cheddar cheese: I like to use freshly grated cheese because it melts better in the meatballs. However, you can always use a bag of grated Mexican cheese, too.
I also used cilantro as a garnish instead of adding to the sauce. The kids and John aren’t fans of the herb so I put it on the side.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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What I Used For This Recipe
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- Baking sheet: You want a sturdy baking sheet with a lip. Otherwise, the juices from the chicken meatballs could drip and start an oven fire!
- Saucepan: I love this heavy-bottomed saucepan because it’s great for making a quick sauce. Plus it’s nonstick, so no burnt-on messes here!
- Mixing bowls: Be sure to use a large mixing bowl to get all the ingredients completely combined. Don’t over mix, though — stop once you see a good array of ingredients in every area.
How To Make It
- First, mix the ground chicken, jalapeños, cumin, chili powder, salt, eggs, tortilla chips, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients.
- Then, put the canned tomatoes and salsa in a large saucepan over medium. Bring it all to a boil and cook until it’s thickened. Let the tomato mixture simmer.
- Now, wet your clean hands and start rolling the meatballs! You want them all even, about an inch wide.
- Next, put the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and cook until they’re at least 165 degrees F internally. No need to flip them!
- Finally, put the baked meatballs in the tomato sauce and let them simmer briefly. Add some cilantro, and serve!
To serve as an appetizer, add a toothpick to each meatball and enjoy! They are full of flavour and not too spicy either. I can’t wait to share them with my extended family and see what they think. I’m guessing that they will be asking me for the recipe!
What Is the Secret to Good Meatballs?
Bad meatballs can be really bad. Too dense in the center, too dry, or even too wet.
I find baking meatballs work a lot better than frying. It keeps the juices in the meatballs and gives you that crispy skin every time.
You always need a binder to hold everything together, so don’t force the meatballs together with your hands! This can lead to incredibly dense meatballs.
What Causes Meatballs To Be Tough?
If there’s no moisture in your meatballs, they will definitely be tough and chewy.
The jalapeños and cheese both add a little moisture to the mix without the typical milk addition. The salsa sauce also helps bring the moisture back to the meatballs after they bake.
The tortilla chip binder also helps keep the meatballs moist! Without it, the ground chicken meatballs will shrink as they cook and become super tough.
What To Serve With This
There’s nothing better than a spread of bite-sized appetizers. If you love deviled eggs, try these bacon ranch deviled eggs.
There’s something fancy about these bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. I promise you’ll have no leftovers at your next tailgate spread.
Forget cheese sticks — try mozzarella balls in the air fryer! They’re perfect with so many dipping sauces and are a great vegetarian snack.
Speaking of dips, there’s none better than this Buffalo chicken dip. There’s no party or potluck where this isn’t the star with tortilla chips or celery sticks!
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Doritos Casserole
- Chili Cranberry Fusion Meatballs
- Mexican Meatloaf
- Pizza Monkey Bread
- Keto Cheese Balls
- Taco Chicken Burgers
Do you have any amazing Mexican-inspired recipes? I’m always looking for more recipes to try! Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, on Facebook at Simply Stacie, and on Pinterest @SimplyStacie and let me know how you liked this and my other recipes!
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup tortilla chips, crushed
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, optional
- Combine chicken, jalapeno, cumin, chili pepper, salt, eggs, tortilla chips and cheese in a large bowl. Use clean hands to mix it all together and set aside in the fridge.
- Add tomatoes and salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring often until thickened for about 10 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer.
- Using wet hands, form the chicken mixture into meatballs about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Add meatballs to a greased baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes in a 375F oven. No turning is needed.
- Once baked, return meatballs to sauce mixture and gently combine meatballs with sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add in cilantro (if desired) and serve hot.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 541mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g